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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

party which I was able to identify as a platoon (thirty
or forty strong). They were jostling one another in
their haste to get through a cavernous doorway > and
as I stood astonished one of them breathlessly told
me that "the Germans were coming over". Two
officers were shepherding them downstairs and before
Td had time to think the whole lot had vanished.
The Battalion they belonged to was one of those
amateur ones which were at such a disadvantage
owing to lack of discipline and the absence of trained
N.C.O.s. Anyhow, their behaviour seemed to indi-
cate that the Tunnel in the Hindenburg Trench was
having a lowering effect on their morale.

Out in no-man's-land there was no sign of any
German activity. The only remarkable thing was the
unbroken silence. I was in a sort of twilight, for there
was a moony glimmer in the low-clouded sky; but the
unknown territory in front was dark, and I stared out
at it like a man looking from the side of a ship. Re-
turning to my own sector I met a runner with a verbal
message from Battalion H.Q. B Company's front was
to be thoroughly patrolled at once. Realizing the
futility of sending any of my few spare men out on
patrol (they'd been walking about for seven hours and
were dead beat), I lost my temper, quietly and in-
wardly. Shirley and Rees were nowhere to be seen
and it wouldn't have been fair to send them out, inex-
perienced as they were. So I stumped along to our
right-flank post, told them to pass it along that a
patrol was going out from right to left, and then
started sulkily out for a solitary stroll in no-man's-
land. I felt more annoyed with Battalion Head-
quarters than with the enemy. There was no wire in
front of the trench, which was, of course, constructed
for people facing the other way. I counted my steps;

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